A stanza is used in poetry to create a division within a poem. It is a group of lines that are separated from other groups of lines by spacing, indentation, or other visual cues. Stanzas are often used to structure a poem, to create a sense of rhythm, to emphasize certain words or ideas, or to indicate a change in tone or subject matter. The number of lines in a stanza can vary, and different types of stanzas have different names, such as a couplet (two lines), tercet (three lines), quatrain (four lines), and so on.

Examples of stanza:

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 has three quatrains and a couplet: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” has six quatrains: Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.

Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” has four quatrains: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem” has three tercets: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet?

William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” has four six-line stanzas: I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

2 thoughts on “Stanza”

  1. You gotta look at the last word in each line, if they rhyme like cat & fat or mice & nice, then you got a rhyme scheme. Cat & fat being “A” and mice & nice being “B”.

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